Following on from my previous post outlining my groups work to recreate “SuperFreak” by Rick James this blog post aims to look back on the project and see how close we came to actually doing a copy of the track.
This is our Version of the track.
The instrumentation is more or less spot on, however we were somewhat thrown off by some of the smaller elements of the track such as the vibraslap.
The only major instrumentation difference between ours and the original would be the saxophone. As we couldn’t find an actual saxophone player to step in and record for us we used Kontankt, which unfortunately does have a digital feeling to it. albeit the notation is spot on.
The Keyboard as well was slightly off tone wise. however without an OBXa it is almost impossible to fully recreate the tone that was used as Mr James stated in an interview that he used that synth specifically for that one tone.
The overall performance of the piece was good. it took each person a few tries to nail the feeling of it. however it must be said that the skill of Rick James and his band is and was well known. The drums deserve special praise as they are perfect performance wise. I do feel the bass could have had more swing between notes but as i performed that part i can only chastise myself.
The singing by Ruben also deserves a lot of praise. He worked extremely hard to nail the quirks of Rick James voice. as well as trying to imitate his style which is very different to his own.
Effects wise i believe we perhaps over did it with a few things such as distortion on the bass. However our use of parallel compression and reverb on the vocals really brought them to life. alongside this, effective drum bussing helped to really bring the whole rhythm element of the track together.
Vibe is certainly the last area of reflection. One thing we realised early into the recording was that the whole song was tracked in the same room. as we were recording separate tracks it was hard to vibe off each other during recording. Also, getting into the mindset of a MoTown group from the 80’s was also hard. we’re different people living different lives to those who originally took part in the song. we are also certainly not “freaks” in the Rick James sense so in a way there was a certain level of disconnection from the song as it didn’t have the emotional impact it would have had at the time.
Nevertheless, i feel we managed to accurately recreate the vibe somewhat.